the power of nature’s “zone”
by Antone P. Braga
Working alone one night in a library, I happened to focus on a small book entitled, “The Power of Your Subconcious Mind,” I can’t remember now the name of the author. However, it wakened thoughts that I had tucked away since childhood. Essentially the book explored the role of the subconscious mind and offered an explanation on its influence.
At five years of age I had my first perplexing thoughts on the mind doing my bidding. Without realizing the complexities I reached a conclusion. I thought it only logical that if you harbored a hidden hope while outwardly expressing the opposite, then your hidden hope would come true. This actually worked many times, although I realized before long that it was not a doctrine on which to rely, nor one I really understood.
A famous ball player was asked in his prime what he thought of being number one in baseball. He replied, “I don’t think about it, I think about the game.” The sportscaster later remarked, “I am sure he was just being modest in his comment.” He shouldn’t be so sure. So many times sportcasters have a narrow perception when they comment on the mental process of a performer. It requires quite a different mentality to perform than it does to interpret or capitalize on that performance. Art is the act of doing, being wholly immersed in the creation—heart and soul mental capacity is the whole. Any portion missing during the creation is itself standing outside the art looking in, interpreting, appreciating, judging or capitalizing on the merits. The art itself is the artist’s success. Anything else is within another realm.
The conscious mind can be a barricade to the natural mental flow that is the harmony of the conscious and the subconscious facets. We sometimes call it getting nervous, choking, or having stage fright. It is the heightened consciousness or focus that gives commands for the body to perform rather than the balanced conscious/subconscious natural flow. I liken it somewhat to the gears on an automobile. The low gear (consciousness) requires rapid engine revolutions and produces slow speeds compared to the high gear (subconscious) which requires less engine revolutions for faster speeds. The predominance of the consciousness is a slower, more purposeful, manipulative function—good for starting out and parking, but not so good on the open road.
Billy Andrade stood over his golf ball in a formidable sand trap. Three other professional golfers looked on as he explained the then famous shot that had won a previous championship. He said, “I just took the club back like this and thought, ‘Get it close,’ I wasn’t thinking, ‘Get it in.'” “You mean to say you weren’t trying to hole the ball?” asked one of the golfers. “No, I was thrilled to see it go in, but when I hit it my only thought was to get it close.” A joke came from one of the players and no one seemed to give serious thought to what had been perceived as a fluke. It reminded me somewhat of my first thoughts. Clearly the golfer had a hidden aspiration or hope of the ball going in the hole, albeit not a conscious directive. The function of holing the ball had been left more to the discretion of the subconscious, or if you will, the database. The conscious mind cleared the path with the generalization of getting close. Had the conscious thought been more specific, e.g., tighten the grip, move this or that muscle, direct the ball in innumerable ways, it would have interfered with and interrupted the balanced flow of what we call “the zone” or “in stroke,” i.e., synchronous mind. He already had the basic calculations at hand from previous experience and only required the aid of present conscious input—not dictated, controlled contrivance. Contrived art in any form shows itself poorly.
Play is the art. Practice is the conscious repetition to develop skill, vis-a-vis with a database that the conscious mind can rely on to help provide the balance between conscious performance and the database. Add to that mix the attitude of having fun, and art is born. An artist plays a musical instrument and does not work an instrument. To work the instrument is to direct and control each note separately with separate conscious thoughts. The passage to the fingers from conscious thought is obvious, the sub-conscious connection is not so obvious. Burn your finger though, and you will act before conscious thought is even possible. Call it instinct or any other name, but the action is not within conscious control.
I can’t think and play tennis at the same time.
—ANDRE AGASSI (on firing his coach)
An NFL coach said of his injured player on his return, “He must now learn to concentrate and focus more as he gets back in the game.” The player may survive on his own “instincts” in spite of that advice. To implement will over the art is to impede the art. The spontaneity of thought occurs when the consciousness is but a guide to the reality of the moment, not a dictator. Given an unrestricted green light, the database spills forth the appropriate filed information in an unrestricted millisecond.
How many times have we heard a sports commentator say, “This next shot should be easy for this player.” The raised expectation, or raised consciousness is said to have then “jinxed” the shot which so many times goes astray. Perhaps the player also shared that raised conscious expectation or even shared a common mind. Emerson held his own theory: A masterpiece of art, in proportion to its excellence, partakes of the precision of fate: no room was there for choice, no play for fancy; for in the moment or in the successive moments when that form was seen, the iron lids of reason were unclosed, which ordinarily are heavy with slumber. The individual mind became for the moment the vent of the mind of humanity. A more recent writing offers yet another perspective on the common mind theory: The individual human mind is like a computer terminal connected to a giant database. The database is human consciousness itself, of which our own consciousness is merely an individual expression, but with its roots in the common consciousness of all mankind. —DR. DAVID R. HAWKINS
There may very well be a common mind of humanity. We are still in the infancy of understanding that phenomenon, though it is not so difficult to believe after seeing thousands of black birds fly, turn and navigate their course instantaneously—in complete unison and absolute precision, as one large body of nature (video). With all our thinking and communicating facilities, we humans fall short in that category probably because our common mind bank is consciously discerning and interfering and is congested with complicated deposits and withdrawals.
Our evolving mind in some respects can be an impediment or an implement. Those who practice predominant conscious control for live performance and art, do unwittingly bid, “Bye, Bye, Blackbird.” For others, recognition of subconscious power leads the way to nature’s “zone.”